Daughter's Eulogy

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stressed . . . Who Me?

Life has been full; not a lot of time to tell mom’s and my story.
The Sunday before Mother’s Day, Mom Lentz and I went to visit Mom Mascitti.  We had a nice visit, but Mom M kept saying she just did not feel herself.  She was very confused.  Some days are better than others; mom was not having a good day.  She was complaining again about her roommate who is always cleaning her shoes and playing with her shoelaces.  I found out from the nurses that her roommate has been cleaning her shoes every day for 8 months every day.

Mom seemed to be consumed with the time she should wake up and the perfect time she should go to bed as if there was a perfect time.  Mom’s roommate gets up every morning between 4:30am-5:00am.  Now mom feels she must wake up at the same time.  Nothing I say can change her mind.  Not only does she want to wake up at the same time, she wants to have the aide help her to use the wash room first and dress up first.   This issue seems to be so important to mom even though I do not see the importance.

Mom was mad at herself because she has been forgetting to flush the toilet which is upsetting to her roommate and to mom.  She shakes her head in frustrating as she says, “I do not know what is wrong with me!”  I hugged her. “Mom, you just started being allowed to go by yourself so you are not used to flushing.  The aide or nurse did that for you.  Just try each time to remember you must flush or ask an aide to take you to the restroom”.  She said, “I will try.” 

Having dementia makes your own situation tough enough without having to deal with your roommate’s dementia.  I can only imagine how frustrating and taxing this must be for both roommates.

As you can imagine, being in a nursing home is pretty boring (really there is nothing ‘pretty’ about it). The Community* has some activities, but most of the day residents are sitting in a chair staring into space, watching the nurses or people go by, or closing their eyes and falling asleep.  Their main excitement is having visitors.

While we were sitting with mom, I asked her how she would like to celebrate Mother’s Day.  She shrugged her shoulders.  I suggested coming over to Ron and my home where we could make some of her favorite food.  She liked that idea and said she hoped she felt good enough that day to come over.  She was concerned about her pills, but I assured her that I would make sure her nurse gave her the medication before I took her out.

I asked her what I might buy her for Mother’s Day. “I could use more nightgowns.  Look Julienne what they did to my new nightgown.  I think they shrunk it; see how short the nightgown is now.  You can throw that nightgown away. Make sure any nightgown you buy me has long sleeves. You know I get cold,” Mom said.  I went through mom’s closet where I found six other nightgowns, however, only two had long sleeves.  She had been wearing those two, but she did not want any part of the short sleeve ones.   I told her I would do my best to find long sleeve nightgowns even though we are in the month of  May and stores may have sent their warmer nightgowns back.

Over the next week, I shopped at seven different stores until I finally found long sleeve nightgowns.  Mom is short so I had to make sure that the gowns were a good length for her.  I found three nightgowns in her size at Steinmart and bought them all.

Ron stopped by on Monday to visit mom, she was glad to see him.  She mentioned that I had invited her for Mother’s Day dinner and that she was happy about coming over.

When I picked up mom to get her hair done on Thursday, I gave her the nightgowns.  She loved them.  They were soft, cuddly, and in some of her favorite colors magenta and a beautiful blue green.  Mom had remembered about coming to Mother’s Day and our home.  She expressed that she was really looking forward to celebrating Mother’s Day.

Mom had a visitor on Friday, Janice one of her niece’s from Michigan had called and asked me if she could visit mom on Friday when she came into town.  I said yes, but informed her that mom has good days and bad; hopefully her visit would end up being on a good day for mom.  Janice understood.   Mom spotted Janice walking down the hall to her.  Mom thought she was dreaming.  They both laughed and shared stories of days past.  Mom was glad to see her.

On Mother’s Day, Jamie and Tracy picked up mom.  When they all arrived, I opened my door and as I helped mom come in our home her first words to me was, “Julienne, I want to go back.  No one told me I was coming to your home for Mother’s Day.  Coming out today was not a good idea.”  My heart dropped.  We had talked to her for a week about our Mother’s Day celebration.  The dementia had made her forget.  Sometimes no matter how many times I remind her some thoughts do not stay with her.

I said, “Mom, we are all you are so glad you are here.  We are going to have a great Mother’s Day!”  Under my breath I was thinking ‘even if it kills me’. 

Once mom came in, she complained that she was not hungry.  Ron and I had worked hard to prepare all of my mom’s favorite food just the way she liked them.  We started out with an appetizer of grilled shrimp; then for dinner we made filet mignon and corn on the cob char grilled just the way she likes them.  She swore she was not going to eat any.  She wanted us to eat fast and take her home. 

So when the shrimp was ready I placed a small plate in front of her.  She immediately stated that she was not going to eat them.  I said, “Mom, you do not have to eat them.”  After she heard everyone else saying how delicious they were, she tasted them and said the shrimp was very good and finished everyone on her plate.

When dinner was served, I made her a plate of food which prompted her to moan and state that she was not hungry.  I again mentioned that she did not have to eat.  However, as we were all eating mom started to pick at her food.  She ate half of her filet and half of her corn. 

As soon as we cleared the dishes, mom begged to be taken back to her room at The Community*.  Afraid she was going to miss her 5pm pills; although the time was slightly after 4pm.

Ron and I drove her home.  We could sense her peace as she was brought back to what she considers her place.  She feels secure at The Community* maybe because she knows her nurse and aide are there to help her if something should happen.

When we walked her to her room, she requested us to stay for awhile.  She told us she enjoyed our company.  We did stay for awhile.  Before we left, she hugged and kissed us.  She thanked us both for making all her favorites.  We could tell she was feeling better. 

Ron and I were happy that we were able to spend Mother’s Day with both of our mom’s.  This was a rare occurrence as the last time we were able to do this was 31 years ago.

Last week I started developing eczema, the dermatologist tells me the rash comes from stress . . . who me impossible.  Never been stressed a day in my life!  Is it just me or do doctors always use the ‘stress’ diagnosis a little too much.  Is there anyone out there that has no stress?  I would like to meet them; maybe I could learn from them.    

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